Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Fairy, Texas (Margo Bond Collins) in One Thousand Words

Fairy, Texas by Margo Bond Collins is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds.

Fairy, Texas-

Fairy, Texas. A small town like any other.

Laney Harris didn't want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class.

She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.

About the author-

Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. 

Chapter One

Of all the things that frightened me about starting a new school, finding a dead guy on day one didn’t even made it into my top hundred. I guess it should have.
            But I didn’t know that when I got up early that first morning and went for a run.
            The best part of running is that it keeps me from crying. It doesn’t matter how bad I feel, timing the beat of my footfalls and the pace of my breathing to the music coming through my headphones always helps.
As I rounded the last bend of the caliche road that wound through the ranch, I could taste the dust in the back of my throat.
Better than tears, anyway.
I slowed down, breathing hard, and walked toward the front porch of the long, low house I now had to call home. I ducked past the living room and scurried down the hall, anxious to be alone. But instead, I ran almost smack into one of the ranch hands. “Please, please be careful with that,” I begged the enormous man who had just tossed another cardboard box onto the top of the growing pile in my bedroom—or at least, the room that was going to be my bedroom for the foreseeable future.
Mom stuck her head around the door-frame, her disheveled brown curls appearing first, followed by her blue eyes. “Laney, you be nice to Bruce. He took the whole day off from work just to help us out.” She eyed my running gear. “You’re not wearing that to school, are you? Hurry up and get ready.”
            “Okay, Mom.” I used my most agreeable voice, but it took every ounce of self-control I had. I’d been working really hard to get along with Mom since we’d started the move, but it hadn’t been easy. Leaving Atlanta for the middle of nowhere, Texas, was not, in my opinion, her best idea ever.
            I didn’t want my mom to be an idiot. I mean, no one does, right? But I guess it’s kind of part of the whole being-a-parent thing, at least to some degree. It’s just that Mom tried so hard to be the cool parent. Not the buying-me-alcohol-and-letting-me-have-wild-parties kind of “cool”—that’s lame. She wanted to be the kind of Mom who knows all the latest music and slang, who tried to be as much my friend as my mother. Which was fine most of the time, even if she did make me want to die every time she turned on the radio and started singing along to Christina Aguilera. (I hated to tell her that “used to be Top 20” doesn’t equal “cool.”)
            But then she got back in touch with her high school sweetheart.
            For as long as I could remember, it had just been Mom and me. My dad took off before I was born—I saw him a couple of times when I was younger and Mom was on a kick about me needing a male role model, but then he got remarried and had another family. Not that he’d ever had all that much interest in me to begin with. And what kind of role model would that have been, anyway?
            Never in a million years would I have thought that some rancher back in Mom’s hometown in Texas would be The One.
            I still wasn’t convinced. Now I kind of wished I hadn’t done my level best to get her not to join a dating site. But once she started emailing John Hamilton, I relaxed a little bit. No way would Mom give up her life in Atlanta, her job, her friends, for some random guy who lived a thousand miles away in a town Mom hadn’t been back to since she left when she was eighteen, right before she had me.       
            I should have paid more attention. I should have tried to talk her out of seeing him when he came to Atlanta to visit. It might not have done any good, but at least then I would know I had done everything I could to save our lives.
            And maybe it would have worked.
            Instead, though, here I was. Moving into my new bedroom in my new stepfather’s house. While Bruce the ranch hand manhandled all my stuff.
            In Fairy, Texas.
            That’s right. I moved from the greater metropolitan Atlanta area to a ranch in central Texas just outside of a tiny town that was actually named “Fairy.”
            And from what I’d seen so far, I wasn’t going to like it. John had taken me on a tour of the ranch the day before and had pointed out disgusting things on the ground like cow pies and buzzard vomit. And he’d shown me the body of a dead coyote hanging from a fence. He said it kept other coyotes away from the ranch, but I’d heard a bunch of them howling when I went to bed that night. Clearly they weren’t that scared.
            “That’s not your desk,” Kayla’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “It was my mom’s. And that makes it mine, not yours.”
            I sighed. “Your dad said I could use it.”
            “Still not yours.” She leaned against the door frame and surveyed the boxes stacked up in my new room.
            “You really going to unpack all that crap?” she drawled.
            “That’s the plan.”
            “You might as well not bother,” Kayla said, flipping her long blonde hair over her shoulder and sliding into her own room across the hall. “You’re not staying long, you know.” She slammed the door behind her.
            I shut my own door and leaned my forehead against it. Bad enough my mother had married Old Flame Rancher Guy. Worse that she had moved me to Fairy. I hoped that the worst was that I had a new stepsister who was turning out to be a bitch.

            I was wrong, of course.

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